Monday, 28 March 2011

To live & die in comfort

Dear Government,

I guess you want to know what we're like because you're trying to work out what we need most. Or at least, our needs relative to the budget, legislation... and votes. I'm not convinced that the questions you asked really got to the heart of the matter, so I suggested a better one for the vacant Q17, here. And its corollary, is, 'So what do we actually need, in order to live and die in the joy of that comfort?' Wouldn't any government give a lot to know the answer to that?

Someone suggested an answer some years ago, and it's not been found wanting since. That what we need is to be grasped by guilt, grace and gratitude. Everything else you could want in your Big Society, will flow from that. Admittedly, this isn't peculiar to the UK, or our particular difficult times. It was made possible by a Jew in the 1st century due to a plan well before our time, nicely summed up by a Pole/Austrian in Germany in the C16th, and here's an explanation by an American:
'All three things are necessary. If we don't know about our sin - which brings a true sense of guilt - we will be too confident in our abilities to do right and make the world a better place. We will ignore our most fundamental problem, which is not lack of education, or lack of opportunity, or lack of resources but sin and its attendant misery. 
'But if we don't know how we are set free from this sin and misery - which comes through God's grace - we will try to fix ourselves in futility or give up altogether in despair. And if we don't know how to thank God, showing gratitude for such deliverance, we will live in a self-centred, self-referential bubble, which is not why God saved us from our sin and misery in the first place. ...

'When we think of living and dying in comfort, we imagine reclining armchairs, massages, and all the food you can eat (with none of the pounds, of course). But the Catechism has in mind a different kind of comfort, one that is deeper, higher, richer, and sweeter. We find this comfort by admitting our sin, instead of excusing it; by trusting in Another instead of ourselves; and by living to give thanks instead of being thanked.'

No comments: